Organic products, as you probably know, come from farms that use farming practices that emphasize the conservation of natural resources and environmental quality. They also do not use most pesticides, fertilizers made from synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation (gamma, x-ray, or electron beam) when growing food.
Many people choose to eat organic foods because they believe that they are healthier or safer than conventionally grown food. Although the evidence for these claims is mixed, eating organic foods can reduce your exposure to artificial chemicals, added hormones and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are a concern for some.
The USDA, the United States Department of Agriculture, sets standards for what foods can be labeled as organic and regulates the process to ensure that all products are produced according to these guidelines. Manufacturers who want to use the term “organic” on their products must be certified by a USDA-accredited inspector.
You can find a variety of organic foods at your local supermarket and grocery store. These foods are generally more expensive than their non-organic counterparts, but they are often higher in antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients.
Choosing an organic diet can help you avoid some of the most common health problems caused by poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle. For example, a study found that people who eat organic fruits and vegetables tend to be less susceptible to certain cancers. Other studies have shown that eating organic fruits and vegetables can lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels.
Another study shows that children who eat organic fruit and vegetables are less likely to be overweight. This may be due to the lower amount of calories and fat in these foods.
If you are buying organic foods, be sure to read the label thoroughly and follow safe food handling procedures. For example, always wash fresh produce with soap and water before you eat it to make sure you don’t swallow any residues.
The nutrient content of organic foods can vary depending on how they were grown and processed. Some research has shown that organic vegetables contain more Vitamin C, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus than conventionally grown vegetables.
Eating a variety of different foods is the best way to get all of your essential nutrients, including those from vegetables. Aim to consume a wide variety of different vegetables, fruits, grains and proteins to keep you healthy.
Shop at farmers’ markets or join a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm to ensure you are getting the highest quality of produce. Some CSAs offer “shares” of produce, where you buy a fixed quantity of fresh fruits and veggies each week at a discounted price from your local farm.
You can also look for a specific organic label on products to be sure they are 100% organic and have been processed in an environmentally friendly way. In addition, be sure to check the label to see if the product contains no genetically modified substances or has been irradiated. The USDA only allows food to be irradiated under very limited circumstances.